2 December, 2023


A Tribute To Ehambaram Vivehanandan: A Socialist Until His Last Breath

By Sivaguru Ganesan

Comrade E. Vivehanandan passed away on 03 August 2020. He was not well for some time.

Ehanbaram Vivehanandan was born in 1935, and had his early education at the Kokuvil Hindu College, Jaffna. Right from his Senior Secondary School years, he was attracted to politics and became a full time political activist of the Lanka Sama Samaja Party(LSSP) from 1954 till 1960.

E. Vivehanandan

Though mostly staying within the Jaffna Peninsula, he began to develop important connections to national leaders of the LSSP. During this period, he also spared no efforts to delve into basic philosophical, political, and social issues affecting the ordinary populations globally, including the vast writings of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Trotsky. Early in his life, he developed the ability to critically engage in examining complex issues, including logic and dialectics. Vive was a thorough intellectual who would pursue knowledge in any field.

Along with his Comrade the late R. Panudevan, they shared in the leadership responsibilities of the local LSSP. In those years in Sri Lanka, the Marxist movement enticed many of its younger recruits to sacrifice their student or professional paths and engage in full time politics in the glorious pursuit of a Socialist Society. Vive stood out amongst these younger recruits. Along with Panudevan, they were identified as a leading center of Marxist learning in the Peninsula. In my student days, I tried to follow them whenever they were engaged for long hours in dissecting and examining the contents of the writings of the great Marxists and Leninists.

Returning to active studies, Vive entered the Law College in 1962, and passed out in 1967.  He was thereafter active as an Advocate of the High Court. The Sri Lankan legal profession felicitated him in 2018. on his completion of 50 years of service to the local Bar. During this period, he also identified himself as a strong defender of democratic practices in the country. In 2012,  as a leading member of the Lawyers Collective , under the leadership of J.C. Weliamuna and others, he fought to restore the position of the Chief Justice Dr (Mrs) Shirani Bandaranayake, dismissed by the Rajapaksa regime in power then on frivolous grounds. When Panudevan, a respected Graduate Teacher, was dismissed from St Johns College, Jaffna, in the 1970s, Vivehanandan appeared as his counsel and won reinstatement for Panudevan.

Though inactive in politics during different periods, Vive in his own words, “never left his Socialist politics to join another party” in his later life. He was a member of the LSSP (Majority Group) and a member of the United Left Front at the time of his death. Vivehananadan made an important contribution towards making a change in Government possible in 2015.

Vivehanandan married into a traditional Islamic family, and after visiting him in the Royal Hospital in his last days, and later in the funeral house, it was abundantly clear to me that he was held in great affection and respect by his wife, his four daughters, and his entire family. Three of his daughters are married. In his last days, I was moved to see that most of the time, he was surrounded by his entire family including his five grandchildren. It was clear to me that Vive had enjoyed great marital blessings that motivated his professional work. Equally, he had given everything he possessed to his family. Vive claimed that he had a worldly outlook on race and religion, had no religious affiliation as such, yet had developed a deeper understanding of Islam, the religion of his wife and in-laws. This likely contributed to his harmonious blending with his wife’s family.

Viveganandan was buried  on August 3, within the cemetery of the Grand Mosque, Kalubovila Road, Dehiwela, with full Islamic prayers and funeral rites.

May his soul rest in peace!

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Latest comments

  • 7

    “Vive in his own words, “never left his Socialist politics to join another party” “
    Shame that his Party the LSSP (Majority Group) left socialist politics and joined reactionary governments.

  • 5

    Sad to hear that my good friend, ‘Advocate’ E. Vivehanandan, (Vive) is no more. I am aware that he has not been doing well, health-wise, for quite some time. We were classmates at St.John’s College, Jaffna, doing our secondary school education. It was at St.John’s that we came under the spell of such great teachers like Mr. (‘Kadavul’) Subramaniam , Mr. J.T. Chelliah, Mr. Banuthevan et al. The last time I met Vive was a couple of months back along with another lawyer friend. We had dinner together. Endowed with an incisive mind and in-depth knowledge, Vive has impressed his friends and peers as a forceful and able debater and advocate. We miss you Vive. In my twilight years, until we meet, I say good-bye!

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